Director Matt Reeves has achieved something astonishing with War for the Planet of the Apes. The mesmerizing third installment in the simian sci-fi reboot has earned rave reviews ahead of its release, with critics praising it as the perfect finale for Andy Serkis's tortured ape Caesar. Fortunately for DC fans, Reeves is already looking ahead to his next project — the first #Batman solo outing in the DCEU — and he believes Bruce Wayne has much in common with War for the Planet of the Apes' Caesar.
While speaking with New Trailer Buzz, Reeves segued into the parallels between Caesar and Batman, showing a perfect understanding of what makes the Caped Crusader so compelling to fans:
"I see a parallel emotionally between Caesar and Batman in that they’re both characters who are tortured and trying to sort of grapple within themselves to find the way to do the right thing in a very imperfect and, to some degree, corrupt world. And so it's really that emotionality that I'm interested in."
Caped Cru-Caesar: How Are Caesar And Batman Alike?
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a surprise hit when it released in 2011, and while the fresh conceptual take on the source material and truly next-level CGI contributed to that, it was the tour de force performance from Andy Serkis that grounded the movie. When Reeves stepped in to direct the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, he took that to the new level, focusing on the nuanced moral dilemmas that come with Caesar's assumed responsibility.
Reeves explored the gray areas of Caesar's decisions while anchoring his mishaps with an emotional rationale. By the time War for the Planet of the Apes took Caesar down a darker path, his motivations were easy to empathize with. However, this was something that many fans felt was missing from #BenAffleck's first outing as Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Dawn of Justice introduced the DCEU's Batman during his most brutal moments. Grizzled and browbeaten, this was a Bruce Wayne that had been through the wringer and had come out well and truly scathed. In a way, he was Caesar at the closing chapter of his story, driven to extremes in the pursuit of what he believed was right. It was a version of the character that didn't resonate with everyone, and Warner Bros. has since promised that #JusticeLeague will show a Batman that's attempting to reconnect with his humanity. So who better to lead him back from that dark edge than Reeves?
The Killing Joke: Ben Affleck's Batman Is No Laughing Matter
Caesar was nothing less than a superhero in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, tirelessly working against the sinister aspects of two separate species while trying to foster mutual peace between his apes and mankind. He's a leader, a diplomat, a force to be reckoned with. That weary understanding of right and wrong typifies Batman's relationship with the criminals of Gotham.
In The Killing Joke, Batman is prepared to set violence aside, even after the Joker paralyzed Barbara Gordon and tormented her father in some truly controversial ways. It's Batman's enduring moral stamina and grim optimism that makes him worth rooting for — and the fact that the ambiguous ending has led to so much debate is further proof of that. It's almost a direct reflection of Caesar's climactic decision to execute the treacherous ape Koba (Toby Kebbell) in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Batman v Superman was more concerned with the concept of a gritty new Batman than an adaptation that was in keeping with what fans already enjoy about the character. In The Killing Joke, the Joker suggests that it takes just "one bad day" to drive anyone insane, and while Warner Bros. went to great lengths to hint that this Batman had seen plenty of bad days, it's difficult for audiences to truly empathize with this radical new outlook without having witnessed those bad days for themselves. Needless to say, Reeves can (and will) rectify this, if his recent comments are a good indication of the film's outcome.
Reeves has promised that The Batman will be a character-driven detective movie that makes audiences empathize with the Caped Crusader. As with Dawn and War, it will be "point-of-view driven in a very, very powerful way" — a move that will be perfect for Affleck's reprisal. In Affleck, Reeves is teaming with another star who's managed to embody the tortured mental and physical state of his character. Where that takes them next is up to the director, but he's already proven himself up to the task.
Affleck next appears in Justice League, another ensemble movie that's looking to launch the wider DCEU properties of Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg. Justice League hits cinemas on November 17.
Do you think The Batman is in good hands with Matt Reeves? Sound off below.